• Ted Chartrand

THE GRAPHIC APP TRAP: 4 REASONS TO AVOID LOGO KITS

Updated: Aug 18



There are so many methods for designing a logo that oftentimes the most tempting option is: whatever is cheaper!


While lite graphic apps and logo maker kits are certainly that, these options are highly detrimental to a brand in the long run.


Graphic apps such as Canva and other online logo generators are extremely short-term and unfortunately bait businesses and many virtual assistants into creating logos that cannot grow with a company. Some of the most basic logo design considerations remain unsupported by apps and creator toolkits.


They can also lead to complications regarding the commercial use of the digital materials they make available.


Here are 4 reasons you will benefit from avoiding graphic apps when designing your logo.


1. TEMPLATE AND KIT LOGOS ARE NOT UNIQUE


When it comes to using logo kits and templates, there are thousands of business owners with access to the same toolbox you’re pulling from.


The designs a free logo maker app or online generator has to offer are finite. The result is every user having tragically cookie-cutter logos for their business or enterprise.


That said, though many of these graphic apps may be free, what they end up costing entrepreneurs and small businesses is, well, business!


A logo is the first thing to greet potential customers and clients and one cannot afford weak visual brand representation if they wish to maximize their potential. If your logo has the same icon as hundreds of other companies out there and all that differentiates yours is color and your name, what message does that send about your brand? How will your business even be recognized?


If you have access to a template or clip-art made available online, so does the rest of the world; and there is no telling how many other creators will choose the same base for their logo.


Online clip-art from any source should not be used in a logo

Consumers can tell the difference between a custom logo and one that was made from recycled templates. This is a deciding factor for many as to how much credence they are willing to give a business.


As these options grow in popularity presently — and in the coming years — it will be increasingly easy to recognize overlaps in logo template use, giving those with custom, made-from-scratch logos that much of an edge over the competition.


Oftentimes another pitfall of utilizing such public components for your logo is there is little telling where the clip-art is from or whether it can be used commercially. Some have personal use limitations that users are not always aware of. This issue is avoided by creating a logo from scratch or having a graphic designer make one that will be 100% your original property.


2. UNAUTHORIZED FONT USAGE


As is largely discussed in my article, Legal Font Use In Logo Design, not every font you find on the internet is simply “up for grabs”. The same is true for many of the fonts provided through Canva and other apps.


Google Fonts showing widely-known fonts to be trademarked

Like clip-art, the fonts provided by many logo platforms are a mixture of commercially and personally permitted; however, this is not clearly disclaimed as you build your graphic within the software.


True example: as a logo designer, I have had clients request for me to use certain fonts they found on Canva. I asked them for the font names and did a little research to find that in order to use them commercially, licenses would need to be purchased, either by page view or as a one-time fee. Regardless, the fonts they had free access to through their chosen graphic app were for personal use only. Using the font as a company logo ran the risk of incurring legal consequences.


This was by no means the fault of the clients; they were using tools made available to them for free online. They were doing nothing wrong as far as they knew, but the danger of such apps lies in the fact that these restrictions are not readily disclaimed.


3. ESSENTIAL FILE FORMATS ARE UNSUPPORTED


Logo maker kits deal primarily in raster image files such as .PNG and .JPG. These files cannot be scaled without noticeable pixelation. This is detrimentally limiting when it comes to applying a logo to signs, posters, company vehicles, and more. Digital applications suffer int the same way when used in web design and social media.


These file formats are useful only for sharing and giving someone a snapshot idea of the logo’s appearance. If these are all you have because they are likely all these apps provide, a printer, a shirt-maker, or a sign-builder will have little to no use for them.


For comprehensive future uses of a logo, entrepreneurs, business owners, and start-ups need .SVG, .PDF, .EPS, .PNG, and .JPG file types at minimum. That is why these form the standard delivery package of Logo Further LLC.


Without these file types, you are barred from a multitude of essential logo applications and the only way to possess them is to design a logo or have one designed by a professional in vector software that supports these file formats.


4. FUTURE EDITING IS NOT POSSIBLE


A logo must be able to evolve with the company to which it belongs. That said, you must possess a Scalable Vector Graphic (.SVG) file or equivalent in order to go back to your logo and edit it.


Static image files such as .JPG and .PNG cannot be edited easily or cleanly. If this is all you have of your logo, it will mean starting from scratch even to make the slightest changes such as a rotation, tweaking a color, or manipulating the dimensions of an object within the image.


The benefit of a logo designer in this regard is you will be delivered editable source files. Your original logo will likely be kept on file in the event that you return to them for future work.


It is impossible to predict what turns your business may take in the future. Every day is its own trial run. You may change your business mission to provide different services or you may just wish to change your visual branding because of a functional or legal conflict.


Whatever the reason, it is never 100% accurate to think of one’s logo as a done deal. The logo has to be able to change with the experimentation of the business. Logo apps, generators, and kits that output an unalterable graphic do not allow you this much-needed freedom of choice.


IN SUMMARY


Logo templates and kits provided by apps like Canva do not provide the flexibility, longevity, or uniqueness every business and entrepreneur requires for holistic, long-term growth. Many of the digital materials are not available for commercial use, thus putting the user at legal risk when designing a logo.


Though, as a SINGLE EXCEPTION to all of the above: these apps can be excellent for rough drafts and brainstorming. A number of clients that I have worked with in the past have used these tools to communicate their vision for their logo to me. Not everyone has the time or the need to learn professional design software such as Inkscape or Adobe Illustrator.


That is where these apps do come in: not as a substitute for professional-grade, but as a means of demonstrating to the one working with more complex software what direction is desired. Every graphic designer out there appreciates clear direction and in the end, you will bring the overall project cost down by spending less time in the revision process.

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